Communication Barriers

There are a many different types of communication barriers. They are challenging, frustrating and difficult. But there are ways to minimize them.

Conflict Theory

It’s easy to communicate in a relaxed comfortable environment.

But, when people become upset because of unresolved conflicts (communication barriers), communication falls off rapidly.

As conflicts intensify they lead to barriers of isolation as well as communication lines that are damaged or broken.

Learning how to navigate in these uncertain waters is important since conflicts are a part of our daily lives.

A good way to deal with conflicts is to strive to see them from multiple view points. Then you can strive to determine the root cause of the conflict and work to resolve it.

Barriers to Listening

There are many communication barriers that can prevent effective listening if they aren’t understood and managed. These barriers can be minimized with a little work.

Cultural Differences - All cultures have their own idiosyncrasies in communication. Being open minded to different communication styles helps minimize this barrier to listening.

Personal Biases - Our filters have an effect on how and why we communicate with others. Being aware of these filters and keeping an open mind encourages effective communication.

Distractions - Holding ones attention today is difficult enough without distractions. Thus, we need to minimize distractions. Some of the common distractions are:

• Noise —Many times it is difficult to have a meaningful conversation due to a noisy location. Noise comes in many forms: from people, equipment, street noise and more. When it becomes difficult to hear and concentrate (assuming it is an important conversation) move to a place that has less noise.

• Visual—It can be tough to concentrate when there is a lot of activity or other visual distractions in the area. As with noise, move to a place where there are less visual distractions.

• Stress —The stress in someone’s life can make it difficult to concentrate. Stress can be for many reasons such as family issues, work problems, financial concerns, illness of self or a family member, and more. Refocusing frequently works. If it doesn’t (and the conversation is important), then choose another time to talk.

• Time —If a pressing appointment (for either you or the other person) won’t allow adequate time to address an issue effectively then choose a more convenient time.

• Other distractions —There are many other distractions that can draw needed attention away from conversations. Using common sense to minimize these distractions helps improve the environment for effective listening.

In other words, to minimize barriers to listening it is important to minimize biases and use effective listening.

Cross Cultural Communication

Not understands others because of cultural differences is common.

Traveling to many different places teaches some simple truths. Although cultures, upbringings, economic opportunities, education and a myriad of other factors are different, most people want many of the same things out of life.

We want to feel loved, respected, useful, self-expressive and live in a safe and comfortable environment in our ever-changing world.

Using this simple concept as a foundation for understanding we can break down the barriers of poor communication and personal isolation by working to meet the needs of others, while meeting our own needs as well.


Misunderstandings are commonplace. They can lead to conflicts, barriers to listening, barriers to effective communication and other issues. To minimize misunderstandings when they occur, do the following:

• Minimize Distractions
• Use effective listening.
• Strive to understand the other person’s view point.

In Conclusion

Communication barriers are lurking everywhere. Sometimes they are even communication games. Being aware of these barriers to effective communication and addressing them with understanding and empathy (and striving to learn the root cause—when necessary) will help resolve many of them.

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